A Passion for Charcuterie

Short video on how to make Lonzino, (air-dried pork loin).

Charcuterie: (noun) cold cooked meats; 2. a shop selling cold meats

The word charcuterie is derived from the French language ‘chair cuit’, which translates as ‘cooked meat’. Simply, it is the preserving of meat, usually pork with salt. You know what I’m talking about— bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, pâtés, and cured meats such as prosciutto or salami.

As of late, charcuterie is experiencing a bit of a renaissance as many of us take on DIY kitchen projects large and small. Once you start to demystify the process of say making homemade sausage, American bacon or Italy’s bacon–pancetta you will be hooked. For those that prefer to spend more time eating than creating there is more than likely a small producer in your area. Start by your local farmers market. And next time you are asked to bring an appetizer to a dinner party choose an assortment of cured meats, a cheese or two, a bit of country paté, nuts and dried apricots. Your friends will be impressed with your originality and boldness.

Other helpful links for those that crave more:

Recipe: Lonzino from Hank Shaw

5@5 – The Bare-Bones Basics of Charcuterie

Charcuterie The Craft Of Salting, Smoking, And Curing by Michael Rhulman & Brian Polcyn

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar

Cabot Creamery is one of the largest cheese producers in Vermont. The Cellars at Jasper Hill is one of the smallest. Together they make an excellent partnership doing what each does very well.  Every three months, Cabot produces 60 wheels of cheddar and then sends them to Jasper Hill where they are carefully wrapped and matured in their caves.

Sweet and folksy is this video from Cellars at Jasper Hill.  Illustrating their partnership which began back in 2003, when Cabot Creamery asked Jasper Hill Farm to age a special batch of English-style clothbound cheddar.  Huh, you say, where’s the wax? Not here, true lovers of cheddar know that real cheddar ages in  carefully wrapped layers of cloth as it ages in a cave so that it releases moisture resulting in a more pronounced, deeper taste.

The way the partnership works  is that the 40 lb. wheels are about a few days old, they are delivered to the Cellars at Jasper Hill.  Here the wheels are bandaged and aged anywhere from 10-14 months until the classic Cabot Clothbound flavor profile is present– sweet, butterscotch, savory, and nutty.

Fun fact from this video:  It takes 40 lbs of fresh curd to make a 32 lb. wheel.  Talk about flavor!